pfSense is an open-source and free security software that may be used as a router and firewall. Here are a few of the many pfSense alternatives provided across several platforms.
pfSense is a version of FreeBSD that can be customized to serve as a router and firewall. It is a powerful, flexible routing platform and firewalling with a plethora of related functionality and a package architecture.
The platform allows additional expansion without bloating the primary distribution or posing security problems. The pfSense software firewall is fundamentally an engine that controls a network, but it does not involve physical equipment.
This means that evaluating a pfSense firewall to a commercialized firewall is not easy. Those products are an all-in-one system that incorporates operating systems and hardware into ready-to-use solutions, with the majority of your configurability determined by the license versions you are willing to pay for.
The pfSense platform was developed to be a flexible system that could operate on a variety of hardware. This allows developers to meet the design specifications with a gadget that has the necessary I/O and specifications.
Unlike those of other available pfSense competitors, its capabilities allow it to be compared to commercial firewalls. You can also customize the pfSense firewall to match your needs based on the level of security and protection you want, as well as your specialist knowledge.
So let’s look at some of the best pfSense alternatives.
Best pfsense Alternatives – Our Top Pick👌
1. IPFire – The Open Source Firewall
The first pfSense alternative on our list is IPFire. IPFire is a Linux-based, resilient, adaptable, and cutting-edge Open Source firewall. Anyone can use it because of its good performance, ease of use, and flexibility in any environment.
IPFire’s primary goal is to keep you safe. The firewall mechanism and Vulnerability Scanning System are simple to set up and prevent hackers from entering your system.
To control risks within the system and have a custom design for the particular needs of each part of the networks, the infrastructure is split into several zones with distinct security procedures such as a DMZ and LAN in the default settings.
IPFire is not built on any previous distribution; it was created from the ground up. This enables the programmers to harden IPFire to a greater degree than any host operating system and design all components expressly for use as a firewall.
IPFire is updated to keep it safe from security flaws and attack patterns.
IPFire is based on Netfilter, the Linux network firewall framework, and uses (SPI) Stateful Packet Inspection firewall. It analyzes packets quickly and has throughputs in several tens of gigabytes a second.
Its user-friendly online interface enables the creation of groups of servers and networks that may be used to keep a massive collection of rules brief, graphical reports, and logging and provide a wealth of information.
Denial-of-Service threats can be mitigated and blocked by screening them effectively at the firewall and not giving them the opportunities to compromise your servers.
The (IDS) Intrusion Detection System of IPFire monitors network traffic to look for data leaks, exploits, and other suspicious behavior. Alerts are raised when an attacker is detected, and the assailant is instantly blocked.
Virtual Private Networks use an encrypted link to connect faraway places such as branch offices, data centers, or outsourced infrastructure. IPFire enables employees to operate remotely as if they were in the office, giving them quick and secure access to their required resources.
IPFire complies with benchmarks such as OpenVPN and IPsec and works with infrastructure from Juniper and Cisco. VPNs may be set up fast and easily using IPFire, and they use the most up-to-date cryptography.
IPFire is a simple, robust operating system from a tech standpoint. It can be enhanced with add-ons, which are deployed using IPFire’s proprietary package control system, Pakfire, to include more capabilities.
Administrators can use add-ons as control tools or expand the scope. Such as:-
- Converting IPFire to a Wi-Fi Access Point
- Monitoring and Systemic Health Management Tools
- Services for backup, file sharing, and printing
- Operating a Tor node
- Relays and proxies for a variety of protocols and more
IPFire’s interesting add-ons make it among the top pfSense alternatives.
OPNsense is an easy-to-use, open-source routing and firewall platform that is simple to set up and operate on HardenedBSD. This tool has most of the functions found in high-priced firewalls and even more in most instances.
It blends the advantages of verifiable and open sources with the functionality of commercial products.
OPNsense outperforms most other pfSense alternatives in terms of features, dependability, and performance. Because it is open-source, users have complete control over update plans and other details.
Using IPsec or OpenVPN, you can safeguard your corporate network and safeguard your connections. All is free, from inline intrusion detection to the stateful inspection firewall and prevention system.
To improve system performance, use the network shaper to prioritize voice over IP transmission over other communications. You might also save your setup to the cloud instantaneously, eliminating the need for manual updates.
High-end functions like forwarding caching gateway, intrusion detection, traffic shaping, and fast OpenVPN client configuration are included in OPNsense’s functionality.
For long-term sustainability, the newest release is built on HardenedBSD 11.2 and employs a newly created MVC framework on Phalcon.
OPNsense’s cybersecurity focus results in distinctive features such as utilizing LibreSSL rather than OpenSSL and a bespoke HardenedBSD version.
3. NG Firewall
NG Firewall streamlines the network perimeter with a single, flexible software platform that adapts to your organization’s changing demands.
NG Firewall is a web, reactive, straightforward firewall designed primarily for enterprises with minimal IT capabilities and finances. It allows you to obtain visibility into network activity immediately.
NG Firewall provides a complete network infrastructure security platform for enterprises of all sizes, from content screening to threat intelligence protection, VPN connections, to software bandwidth management.
The NG Firewall proactively blocks malware, phishing scams, hacking attempts, and other dangers before reaching consumers’ devices.
Database-driven reporting would provide real-time information without the requirement for a dedicated appliance.
Users may check the network condition at the moment on the monitor, ensure adherence with comprehensive event logs, and receive alerts for network irregularities or odd user behavior using alert policies with NG Firewall.
Every rogue program, malware distribution point, encrypted web request, and drive-by malvertising attempt are tracked using this tool.
The NG Firewall is designed to handle the demands of a distributed workforce, local branches, and guest Wi-Fi. It protects people and data independent of access level or location. While saving money, the tool manages competing demands, assures Quality of Service, and maximizes uptime.
From a single access point, you can control your whole network. You can use Command Center to automatically launch new hardware devices, construct software-defined systems, automatically link appliances, customize and push policy patterns, create global alerts, examine complex data about hosts, and more.
The NG Firewall can be installed in various methods, allowing you to select the optimal strategy for your system.
You can use a specialized Untangle NG Firewall zSeries equipment and operate it with zero interaction, or use your hardware that suits your needs. NG Firewall can also be installed on virtual machines or in the cloud using Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
NG Firewall is one of the robust yet easy-to-use pfSense alternatives, and it’s one we highly recommend.
4. Cisco Next-Generation Firewall Virtual (NGFWv)
Sophisticated threat defense features include security intelligence, next-generation IPS, application visibility, URL filtering, advanced malware protection, application visibility and control, and VPN with Cisco Next-Generation Firewall Virtual.
Next-generation intrusion prevention systems, sophisticated malware protection, application visibility and control, and URL filtering are among the advanced threat defense alternatives available.
For remote management VPN, AWS route 53 is used. For flexible inter-VPC traffic, this firewall interfaces with AWS Transit Hub. It Scales up and down seamlessly, and the high availability ensures robustness.
To identify and fight sophisticated attacks, NGFWv provides industry-leading intelligence.
Across settings, the Next-Generation Firewall Virtual ensures uniform policies, compliance, and threat detection. You can examine encrypted traffic, automatic risk ranking. Also, impact flags help you evaluate threats by reducing event volume.
Cisco Defense Orchestrator provides users with unified administration for virtual and physical devices.
APIs, Cisco Defense Orchestrator, Firepower Device Manager, and Firepower Management Center can all be used to stay productive. FMC for AWS can be installed on-premises or in the cloud. The system supports REST API, policy, an HTTP-based administration, and surveillance interface.
Cisco SecureX, a digital, built-in framework experience inside the Next-Generation Firewall Virtual portfolio, offers visibility, simplicity, and efficiency is available to customers. In reaction to Cisco security events, Cisco SecureX organizes the deployment of AWS VPCs, either automatic or manual.
NGFWv includes NGIPS, advanced malware protection, security intelligence, application visibility and control, URL filtering, application visibility, and control, VPN, and other advanced threat defense features.
In addition, this firewall provides industry-leading intelligence to detect and fight advanced attacks.
NGFWv is Cisco’s attempt to outdo other pfSense alternatives, and we can argue that that did a good job.
ClearOS is a software platform for servers, routers, and gateways. It is intended for use in private residences, small to medium companies, and distributed workplaces.
ClearOS is regarded as the Next-Gen Small Business Server because it has essential Gateway and Networking features. It provides a robust IT solution with a beautiful user experience that is entirely web-based. Simply said, ClearOS is a new approach to IT delivery.
ClearOS is nimble and adaptable. It is primarily used on servers and network devices, but it can also be used digitally or as the host System for other virtual servers.
The marketplace is a component of ClearOS that allows you to quickly scale the capabilities of your server by providing a turn-key program installation engine.
Keep in mind when making a call, snapping a picture, utilizing the flashlight, and playing music necessitated the use of many devices.
The Smartphone was developed as technology advanced, and usability and technology have never been the same since. ClearOS is a virtualization technology that can also be used as a modular design.
Almost any server may be turned into a smart host with ClearOS, simplifying IT delivery.ClearOS features a Marketplace with over 100 programs for both off and on-premise use.
Setup an app, and your system scales to include functionality not previously available on a Small Business Server. Webconfig, an internet user interface accessible from any browser on practically any internet device, controls ClearOS.
ClearOS has received numerous awards over the years. Among the most frequent is that its mobility makes it an Invaluable Gateway Security & Network Solution that gives a Next-Gen Small Biz Server that outperforms other options.
ClearOS is a network hub and server software with a web-based administrative interface built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS. It is designed for usage in small and medium businesses as a network server and network gateway. It is marketed as a replacement for Windows Small Business Server.
ClearOS replaced ClarkConnect. ClearFoundation is the company that created the technology, and ClearCenter sells support services. Prior constraints to mail, MultiWAN, and DMZ functionalities have been removed in ClearOS 5.1.
The ClearOS 6.1 version is a packed operating system for gateways, networks, and workstations developed from Red Hat Enterprise Linux source modules.
Being a Small Business Server, ClearOS aspires to supersede Windows SBS. If you own a small business, then you should choose ClearOS over other pfSense alternatives.
NethServer is a CentOS-based, free, all-in-one Linux server installation built specifically for small and medium-sized businesses.
Forget about detailed step-by-step setup instructions because we may install the features we want with a single click. It includes a powerful and modern online interface that makes routine administration tasks more manageable.
We can acquire security fixes and upgrades from the authorized CentOS repositories on a regular basis. If you are on a Linux operating system, then NethServer is one of the pfSense alternatives to consider
7. Endian Firewall Community
Endian is a developer of open-source platform security solutions and one of the pfSense alternatives. Around the course of its existence, the Endian Unified Threat Management brand portfolio has protected thousands of networks all over the world.
As well as providing secure communication, it protects against potentially hazardous Internet threats. Endian Firewall Community is a Linux-based security solution that includes a wide range of features.
(UTM) Unified Threat Management capabilities are added to any system, transforming it into a packed security appliance.
Designed with ease of use in mind, the application is exceedingly simple to install, operate and maintain while maintaining a high level of adaptability.
Features include a stateful packet filtering firewall, application-level gateways for several interfaces, and antivirus protection for the protocols in question.
It also provides spam and virus screening for email communications, content control for Web traffic, and a trouble-free VPN option, among other features. Among the many advantages of Endian Firewall is that it is a 100 percent open-source technology that Endian supports.
The creators collaborate with the Open Source community to design a robust, safe, and stable firewall that only uses Open Source software. With a public forum comes rapid evolution and the introduction of fresh ideas.
It serves as a testing ground for experimental solutions that may one day find their way into the robust and authorized Endian Firewall Appliance, among other things. Endian Firewall UTM Devices come in a multitude of configurations, including software and hardware.
It adds new features, dedicated hosting, and connection to the Endian Network, resulting in a more comprehensive security experience than ever before.
You might think about purchasing one of their Devices if you want skilled support, a plug-and-play option, and central update administration.
8. Azure Firewall
To safeguard your digital content, Azure Firewall provides a cloud-native and smart network firewall technology. Azure Firewall is simple to install and scalable with your network.
To govern and record access to apps and assets, activate turn-key network firewall features in Azure Virtual Network. Outgoing and Inbound traffic, local spoke-to-spoke connectivity, and hybrid interconnection using ExpressRoute gateways and Azure VPN filtered by Azure Firewall.
Using the Microsoft advanced threat feed, activate threat intelligence-based screening for your firewall to detect and stop traffic from/to known harmful IP addresses and websites.
Microsoft Threat Intelligence is powered by Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, used by various applications, notably Azure Security Center.
The examination of Transport Layer Security (TLS) allows the malware to be prevented from being transmitted via data encryption.
Outbound traffic is decrypted by Azure Firewall, which then performs the necessary security checks before encrypting the traffic for delivery. It works with URL screening and web categories, allowing administrators to grant or ban user access to websites like social media or gambling.
Signatures are used by the (IDPS) intrusion detection and prevention system to monitor activity, produce alarms, log information constantly, and, if necessary, try to block the assault.
For non-encrypted communication, it can identify attacks on all protocols and ports. The TLS inspection functionality is used to decipher encrypted traffic.
9. MikroTik RouterOS
Since 1996, the number of MikroTik products available around the world has increased. Some of these devices may be recognizable to you, such as a tri-band mesh Wi-Fi access point for the connected home, the MikroTik Audience, the latest member of the MikroTik RouterBOARD special hardware range.
MikroTik RouterOS is a Linux-based independent operating system running on MikroTik RouterBOARD equipment.
The MikroTik and MikroTik Wiki websites both include significant documentation for the program. The following are three crucial points to remember from the documentation:
- It’s bigger than a mere OS for routers
- An expansive set of features
- A non licensed based testing
Despite its name, MikroTik RouterOS is a multi-purpose operating system that may be used for more than simply routers. The application is deployed on PCs to make devices into dedicated routers, as detailed on the MikroTik RouterOS Information page.
One can get the current software version from the MikroTik Software website and install it using one of 2 techniques.
Configuration, routing, firewall, MPLS, WLAN, VPN, DHCP, Quality of Service, hotspot, proxy, Quality of Service, and numerous utilities are all included in MikroTik RouterOS.
MikroTik RouterOS’s Minim Installer for MikroTik, a setup utility for activating MikroTik router compatibility on the Minim system, while we are on the subject of software features.
This gives MikroTik device access to even more functions, such as AI-driven gadgets, network health tracking, fingerprinting, Wi-Fi optimization, and complete security.
Before acquiring licensed software, MikroTik enables you to test the MikroTik RouterOS technology. This is referred to as Trial Mode by MikroTik, and it allows you to try the whole MikroTik RouterOS features and functionality set for up to 24 hours.
After the first 24 hours, users will need a key to keep using the device to its full potential. According to the MikroTik Wiki, they can do so by creating an account and then selecting “Buy a RouterOS license key.” RouterOS subscription costs anywhere from 45 to 250 dollars, as illustrated below:
It is also worth noting that if you buy a MikroTik RouterBOARD device directly from MikroTik or a dealer, you will not have to worry about buying licensed software. A RouterOS license is preinstalled on all RouterBOARD hardware.
MikroTik RouterOS is older than most other pfSense alternatives hence it’s one you can rely on.
10. Sophos UTM
This makes our list of pfSense alternatives because it puts your security software into one convenient package. Only the security you need at the time you desire it is available to you.
And make it accessible on whatever platform best matches your needs, whether it is hardware, software, or a virtual appliance.
Regardless of the number of users you serve, they possess the same set of characteristics. Furthermore, their user-friendly web-based management dashboard enables seamless administration of all your IT protection.
Sophos UTM supplied all of the essential functions that were required. For any installer, it is easy to use and operate.
By screening out unnecessary network traffic and malicious apps, firewall software protects networks and computers from attacks. For safeguarding your secure network from malware attacks and unauthorized access, OPNsenseis arguably top on our list of pfSense alternatives.
Of course, pfSense is always a great choice, but it is great knowing all the alternatives. I recommend that your pick should be aligned with what suits your needs the most, and I have compiled this list in no specific order.
Be sure to leave me your comments. I would love to know what options you think I have not added to the list.